It’s almost time to sweep out the old and ring in the new — but why not embrace time as a continuum and spend New Year’s Eve with a mix of both? New Year’s by the Bay, now in its 22nd year marking the calendar page turn in the city of Belfast, runs from 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, to an hour into 2019. The schedule includes perennial personnel, returning favorites and some debuts.

Among the latter is the official inauguration of the city’s next Poet Laureate of Belfast. The gala cape-passing ceremony is set for 6 p.m. at The Playhouse, 107 Church St. (see the story linked below).

Belfast by the Bay is a stand-alone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a singular mission: to provide the people of Belfast, Waldo County and Beyond with a cultural, family-oriented, chem-free celebration of the New Year. The goal is to celebrate the spirit of Belfast by showcasing local Maine talent, promoting tourism and encouraging civic involvement and volunteerism. In fact, it’s not too late to volunteer, a relatively short-term gig that includes admission.

Said admission is by a pin-on button, $20 for adults; $5 for youth/students; and free for children younger than 5. The buttons provide admission to all events, space permitting; but bring a little money for the food venues or an extra donation. Buttons can be purchased in advance on the event’s website,, or at the Belfast Co-op. Beginning at noon Monday, buttons are available at the NYBB HQ — Parent Gallery, right downtown at 92 Main St.; and they will be sold at entertainment venues, as well.

Fun freebies

There are a half-dozen events that are free of charge, including the aforementioned Poet Laureate of Belfast Inauguration Ceremony. Family events for all ages at 3 p.m. start the ball rolling. The Parks and Recreation Department co-sponsored annual free event for senior citizens will present the Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra — MoJO to its many fans — from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Belfast Boathouse, 34 Commercial St. at the harbor. Refreshments will be provided.

On the other end of the age spectrum, local folksinger and storyteller Jennifer Armstrong offers a free session of stories and songs for families and youngsters from 3 to 3:45 p.m. at Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

From 3 to 5 p.m., just a little ways out of downtown, the Belfast Curling Club on Route 3 will host its annual free learn-and-observe open house. It’s a fun opportunity for everyone to check out the club’s three “sheets” of ice and the ancient “roaring game” of stones and brooms.

And New Year’s by the Bay ends with free-for-all community events. The participatory Drum & Rabble Corps meets under the downtown traffic light (BYO drums, rattles, noisemakers) at 11:30 p.m. At 10 before midnight, it leads a procession down to the waterfront where, at the strike of 12, the Bonfire by the Bay at Harbor Landing will be lit to welcome the new year.

Those looking for a more contemplative transition are invited to walk the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Labyrinth at Belfast Common, which will be illuminated by candlelight from 4 p.m. to midnight. Quimby was a clockmaker, inventor and philosopher credited as the Father of the New Thought Movement, as his writings had a significant influence on the development of the positive thinking movement in America. The medieval eight-circuit paved labyrinth was built by Friends of Belfast Parks.

The main course

Beginning at 4 p.m., New Year’s by the Bay offers music of all kinds at more than half a dozen venues, all within walking distance. New this year is “The Bazz” — Belfast Maskers’ Basil Burwell Community Theater in a former (so some called it the Eustabee) church building. The Bazz will begin its first New Year’s by the Bay with first-time participant the Worksong Community Chorus, a DIY interactive sing-along led by work song scholar and advocate Bennett Konesni who, with wife Edith Gawler, also will be part of the Gawler Family Band’s two sets in the First Church sanctuary.

Also new this year is Amy Robbins-Wilson, who will lead Angelsong Musical Meditations at Yoga and Wellness Studio; and fiddlers Julia Plumb and Lauren McDonald, playing early evening sets in the Belfast Co-op Café.

Popular performers returning after a break include Celtic music duo Castlebay; Native American flutemaker and storyteller Hawk Henries; song stylist John Nowak with pianist Lincoln Blake; and local man of music Willy Kelly.

And speaking of courses

Belfast has a number of fine eateries, of course; and NYBB offers several chem-free options, as well, including the Belfast Co-op Café from noon to 8 p.m. Following are event-specific food options Monday; note that food is not includes in the button admission.

New Year’s Eve Bistro: from 4 to 8 p.m., there will be homemade handpies, soup and dessert at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

New Year’s Eve Dinner: from 5 to 9 p.m., the First Baptist Church vestry will have beef stew, chili, corn chowder, pea soup, pie, fudge, cookies, bottled water and hot drinks.

New Year’s Eve Dinner: from 5 to 9 p.m., the second-floor First Church UCC Parish Hall will have roast pork, stuffing, potatoes and carrots; or vegetarian lasagna with salad, with beverages and dessert.

To date, more than 47,000 people have participated in New Year’s By The Bay, which has grown in its 22 years from one local woman’s vision to a full-fledged volunteer-driven First Night for the Midcoast.

“As a nonprofit organization, we are thankful for the strong support we receive from city government, local businesses, churches, service organizations and private citizens,” said Mary Mortier, NYBB executive director. “We look forward to ushering in the new year together with joy and community spirit.”

Following are this year’s button-admission events, listed by venue; sets run 45 minutes, unless otherwise noted. The complete schedule and more details are on the event’s website.

New Year’s by the Bay 2019

Ananda Yoga and Wellness Studio, 9B Beaver St.

4 and 7 p.m.: Angelsong Musical Meditations with Amy Robbins-Wilson.

• Belfast Co-op Café, 123 High St.

4 and 5 p.m.: traditional fiddling by Julia Plumb and Lauren McDonald.

6 and 7 p.m.: Juliane Gardner and Chris Poulin play jazz and blues.

• First Baptist Church (vestry), 95 High St.

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Caricatures by PJ.

• First Baptist Church (sanctuary)

5 and 6 p.m.: Belfast Bay Fiddlers play in contra dance tradition.

7, 9 and 11 p.m.: Katahdin Valley Boys play traditional bluegrass music.

8 and 10 p.m.: Castlebay celebrates the music and stories of Celtic lands.

UU Church, 37 Miller St.

5 and 7 p.m.: The Sauternes play revived retro tunes from the ‘20s through the ‘40s.

6 and 9 p.m.: Mes Amis plays Gypsy jazz.

8 and 10 p.m.: New Shades of Blue fuses jazz, blues and originals.

First Church UCC (sanctuary), 104 Church St.

5 and 7 p.m.: Hawk Henries shares Native American spiritual flute music and stories.

6 and 9 p.m.: The Lowdown offers fun, original, unusual songs.

8 and 10 p.m.: The Gawler Family Band plays lively acoustic folk music.

First Church UCC (upstairs parish hall), 108 Court St.

5 and 6 p.m.: John Nowak and Lincoln Blake perform easy listening jazz.

7 and 8 p.m.: Pinwheel Brothers play acoustic folk, rock and bluegrass.

Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

6 p.m.: Local community Midcoast Ukes strum and sing.

7 and 10 p.m.: Midcoast folk finger-style guitarist Will Brown plays and sings.

• 8 p.m.: Jennifer Armstrong plays fiddle and banjo, spins folktales and invites singing along.

9 and 11 p.m.: Jonesville duo runs the gamut from Adele to Zeppelin.

The Bazz, 17 Court St.

6 to 7 p.m.: Worksong Community Chorus comprises an interactive sing-along.

7:15 to 8:45 p.m.: The Captain Obvious band plays rock and blues dance music.

9 and 10 p.m.: Local musicmeisters Willy Kelly, Joe Allard and Jeff Densmore perform as Café Daze.

The Boathouse, foot of Commercial Street

6 to 7:45 p.m.: Steelin’ Thunder, the Midcoast’s community steel drum band, brings a Caribbean vibe to the waterfront.

8:30 to 10:30 p.m.: The Right Stuff fuels dancing feet with its soul sound, funky horn section and compelling rhythms.